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Events Details

Date: March 26, 2019
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:15 pm
Sponsor: Villanova University
Website: Villanova University
Flyer pdf: Download
Meeting Link:

Location Details

Event Location:
Driscoll Hall Auditorium, Villanova Univesity, 800 Lancaster Ave, Villanova, PA, United States


Seeing the Birth Pangs of the
Big Bang with Cosmic Background Radiation
Tuesday, March 26
7:30 pm 
Brian Keating, UC San Diego
Dr. Keating is Director of the Simons Observatory, a $75 million experiment at an elevation of 17,500’ northern Chile. It’s the world’s most ambitious, and most sensitive instrument ever designed to study the origins of the Universe. When completed in 2022 it will be at the highest elevation of any astronomical observatory in the world. He is Professor of physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences (CASS) in the Department of Physics at the University of California, San Diego where he leads the Ax Center For Experimental Cosmology (ACEC). He is also Associate Director of the Arthur Clarke Center for Human Imagination. He authored Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor, which was named one of Amazon’s 20 Best Science Books of 2018, and hit #1 in its Astronomy Category.
How did the universe begin? How might it end? What mysterious forces and field dominate the structure of our cosmos. The Simons Observatory aims to answer these questions and many more. The Simons Observatory is a new cosmic microwave background experiment being built in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile, due to begin observations in the early 2020s. I will describe the scientific goals of the experiment, motivate its design, and forecast its performance. It will measure the temperature and polarization of the cosmic microwave background with arcminute resolution over approximately 40% of the sky in six frequency bands: 27, 39, 93, 145, 225 and 280 GHz. In its initial phase, three small-aperture (0.5-meter diameter) telescopes and one large-aperture (6-meter diameter) telescope will be fielded. These instruments will host a total of 60,000 cryogenic bolometer detectors. I will discuss some of the key science goals of the Simons Observatory, including the characterization of primordial fluctuations, determination of the number of relativistic species, and measuring the mass of neutrinos. I will also discuss other tests of fundamental physics — some of which may be best measured using Cosmic Microwave Background observations such as the ones we are embarking upon.

Event Posted by: Lowell Gustafson